Last Friday, I spent the evening at the Got to Be NC Festival at the North Carolina Fairgrounds. This annual festival is put on by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and highlights the farming work done within the state. At this festival there is a stage with live music, carnival rides, food trucks, fair food, a livestock showcase, vintage tractors, and an expo for vendors of local North Carolina products.
Being a big fan of supporting local farmers and always on the lookout for fresh and unique food, my wife and I decided to attend. It was an incredibly hot day, with the temperature just below 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which meant that we kept outside browsing to a minimum. We did take a quick lap through the vintage tractors, and I took a moment to take a snapshot of what is left of the NC Fairgrounds Speedway, once a NASCAR dirt track.
After cutting through the food trucks and carnival games, we made our way to the expo center for the main event. It was a great time to visit as it wasn’t overly busy, and we were able to browse at a leisurely pace. The vendors varied from distilleries to makeup and everything in between. We ended up spending way more money than we had anticipated, but we got some great sauces and products all made here in North Carolina.
The highlight of the evening was coming across an ostrich farm booth. My wife has a beef and pork allergy which has drastically affected how we eat and one of the first substitutions that we ran across was emu, which is considered a red meat by the USDA due to its ph level, although it’s poultry. Poultry lacks the enzyme which causes the allergic reaction, so for a while we ate emu until my wife lost a taste of it.
Ostrich is like emu in that it’s technically a red meat, without being beef or pork. I tried a bite of the jerky and she tried a small bite of a steak and lit up instantly. Unfortunately, it was the last piece of steak they had fried up, but my wife was sold on how great it tasted that we ended up walking out with sixty dollars’ worth of ostrich meat.
The following evening, she cooked up the ostrich inner leg and well… she wasn’t wrong. It was delightful and well worth the money. I look forward to trying the other cuts that we bought including the pearl.
Overall, the Got to Be NC Festival was a lot of fun for someone who likes food. It’s free to enter, but the rides cost money and so does the vendor expo (three dollars.) It was well worth the six dollars we paid, and I have a feeling we will be back next year.